Safety and the Right-of-Way
To ensure our pipelines remain safe and leak-free, we must be able to inspect, make repairs and maintain the right-of-way. That’s why wherever Atmos Energy pipelines are located; we have a “right-of-way”— a legal right of access to the property.
If our pipeline goes through a portion of a county park where we have a right-of-way, the county gives us easy access to that part of the park. If our pipeline runs across grazing land, the rancher ensures his or her fences and cattle don’t block our way. Golf courses, ski resorts, farmers, and other types of owners are all bound to keep a right-of-way clear
Utility companies aren’t alone in having rights-of-way. Sometimes a homeowner shares a driveway with a next-door neighbor who has a right-of-way to use it too. A retail business might have a right-of-way across another retailer’s parking lot. Rights-of-way are everywhere.
Keeping It Clear
Atmos Energy will, from time to time, need to clear plants from a right-of-way or remove other items that block easy access to natural gas pipes. In such cases, we always strive to work with the landowner to keep the impacts of our work low.
Sometimes we have to remove large trees to keep an area clear. Although beautiful and beneficial in so many ways, trees can slow down emergency crews on the ground. Tree roots can wrap around our pipeline, and grown trees can also block our view of pipelines from the air.
Whether the problem is a tree, a storage shed, a fence, or something else, any item that hinders a right-of-way is an “encroachment.” Encroachments not only make pipeline areas less safe but are against the law.